Executive Briefings

Drones Not Likely to Be Dropping Toothpaste, Pet Food on You Anytime Soon

Everyone, from Amazon to Google to Martha Stewart, has been lauding the benefits we'll all reap by the use of drones, and there’s a gold rush on to cash in on the technology. But beware: The trend has all the hallmarks of a bubble-in-the-making, the contemporary equivalent of that symbol of the excess of the millennial tech bubble, the now-defunct Pets.com.

Why won’t small, unmanned aircraft one day be dropping tubes of toothpaste and dog food into people’s yards across the continental United States? After all, drones have been used for years to undertake battlefield surveillance and kill terrorists.

But killing terrorists with drones is one thing, and delivering packages with them is another thing entirely. And it will prove harder to set up a package delivery system with drones than to use them for battle.

The problem isn’t a technical one. Instead, it has to do with safety, regulatory requirements, potential misuse, government bureaucracy and people’s fear of the unknown. Because of the uncertainties and potential dangers involving fleets of drones clogging U.S. airspace, the FAA has essentially banned commercial use of drones until it develops regulations, saying in a statement, “Developing all the rules and standards we need is a very complex task, and we want to make sure we get it right the first time.”

Translation: Don't expect those regulations anytime soon.

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Why won’t small, unmanned aircraft one day be dropping tubes of toothpaste and dog food into people’s yards across the continental United States? After all, drones have been used for years to undertake battlefield surveillance and kill terrorists.

But killing terrorists with drones is one thing, and delivering packages with them is another thing entirely. And it will prove harder to set up a package delivery system with drones than to use them for battle.

The problem isn’t a technical one. Instead, it has to do with safety, regulatory requirements, potential misuse, government bureaucracy and people’s fear of the unknown. Because of the uncertainties and potential dangers involving fleets of drones clogging U.S. airspace, the FAA has essentially banned commercial use of drones until it develops regulations, saying in a statement, “Developing all the rules and standards we need is a very complex task, and we want to make sure we get it right the first time.”

Translation: Don't expect those regulations anytime soon.

Read Full Article